Saturday, August 26, 2017

Successful Stallions in the Young Horse Championships Day 2

We'd like to send special congratulations to Hilltop Farm and also to Patricia Becker and Dr. Anne Ramsay for their results in Friday's competition at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships. Hilltop's Qredit (Quarterback-Dream Rubina, Dream of Glory) was ridden by Michael Bragdell, and Patty Becker rode Dr. Ramsay's home-bred Oldenburg stallion Freedom (Feuri-Windjammer, Walk on Top). The two shared second place in the Intermediate II test. Finery, owned by Anne Howard, took third in the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test.

Here is the full report on the day's results:

Wayne, Ill. - Aug. 25, 2017 - To begin the second day of competition at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, came away with a win in the Intermediate II, which was the first test for the Developing Grand Prix division. Parra earned a 69.561 percent aboard his and Martha Sosnoff's 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus-Forst-Design, De Niro). 
Bred by Heike Kind in Germany, the gelding won the 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2013 with Nadine Buberl. He returned to Lamplight in 2016 with Parra to earn the reserve championship title in the Developing Prix St. Georges division. This year, the pair excelled in the Intermediate II test with highlights that included the trot half-passes, the canter pirouettes, and the piaffe and passage tour. 

Patricia Becker of Wadsworth, Illinois, and Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland, tied for second place in the Intermediate II test with a score of 67.325 percent. Becker competed Dr. Anne Ramsay's 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion Freedom (Feuri-Windjammer, Walk on Top). Bragdell rode Qredit Hilltop (Quarterback-Dream Rubina, Dream of Glory), a 9-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Hilltop Farms, Inc. 

In the 6-year-old division, Andrea Woodard traveled from Wellington, Florida, to top the leaderboard with a score of 7.9 on her Oldenburg mare Ravenna (Sir Donnerhall I-Romanze, Blue Hors Romanov). Ravenna was bred in Germany by Britta Luebbers and Woodard bought her as a 3-year-old. The pair received a trot score of 8.5 from the judges who rewarded the gait's cadence, and the judges gave an 8.0 for their general impression. 

Werner Van Der Brande, who lives in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, followed closely behind in second place during the 6-Year-Old Preliminary test with a 7.8 aboard Flyby FLF (Falsterbo-Whirliegirl, Wonderland), a Hanoverian stallion owned by Linda Sommers. Michael Bragdell earned the yellow ribbon with a 7.6 on Anne Howard's Oldenburg stallion, Finery (Furstenball-Sonetta, Diamond HIT).

The Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships continues Saturday, Aug. 26 with three championship titles being crowned: the Developing Prix St. Georges National Championship, and the 4-Year-Old and 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championships.

For results and starting times, visit For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network. 


Patricia Becker - Intermediate II Test second place tie 

On Freedom:
"Freedom is a horse I've had since he was 3 and I rode him as a 5-year-old here. He's a wonderful horse to ride and is a stallion, and he can sometimes act like a stallion! As he's developed he puts his game face on more whenever we go in the ring. That's what he did today, but the mistakes were very small. I was very pleased with him and his effort and focus today. I love Lamplight - it's super close to me so I love to compete here."

Michael Bragdell - Intermediate II Test second place tie 

On Qredit Hilltop:
"Of all my horses, I think Qredit holds a special place for me and Jane MacElree
who owns him and Hilltop Farm. He has grown up on the farm since he was a weanling. I showed him as a yearling at Devon and he won in-hand. Through the years I've developed him, so to be here with these fierce competitors, Cesar and Patricia, it's a nice group to be in. I'm really proud of him." 

Michael Bragdell - 6-Year-Old Preliminary Test third place 

On his test:
"I was quite thrilled with my horse. He is owned by Ann Howard and she trusted me to train and show him. I got him last spring and I think he is super talented and has progressed well. In the test, he gave his all. I have to give credit to my coach, Morten Thomsen, who has helped us along the way and has really made a big difference in the training." 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 1 Results at Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships

Alice Tarjan and Serenade MF. Photo: Emma Miller/Phelps Media Group

Wayne, Ill. - Aug. 24, 2017 - The first divisions of the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships took to the ring on a beautiful day at the Lamplight Equestrian Center Thursday, Aug. 24. 

The 4-year-old division kicked off the opening day of the national championships and Alice Tarjan of Frenchtown, New Jersey, dominated the class placing first and second in the preliminary test. Tarjan rode her black Hanoverian mare, Serenade MF (Sir Donnerhall-Duet MF, Don Principe), bred by Maryanna Haymon, to the win with a score of 8.44. She followed close behind with her German-bred Oldenburg mare, Fairouz (Franziskus-Diva, Don Frederico) on a score of 8.06. Rounding out the top three was Kimberly Dougherty on her Oldenburg mare Celebration (Coer D'Amour-Rhythm-N-Blues, Rosenthal) with a 7.99. 

The judges awarded Serenade MF high marks for her expressive, uphill trot, ground-covering walk and active canter. Their general impression was a positive one as they recognized the mare's trainable qualities and forward gaits. Tarjan's other mount, Fairouz, was rewarded for her light-footed, active trot, which the judges believed to be the main highlight. Her clear, rhythmic walk, as well as overall rideability and obedience, earned her high marks to slide into second place.

Alyssa Doverspike and her Hanoverian gelding, Darius 555 (Don Darius-Barcelona, Boss) made the three-day trip from Wildomar, California, well worth it after winning Thursday's 5-year-old preliminary test with a 7.76. Doverspike is a full time groom for her trainers David Wightman and Kathleen Raine of Adventure Farms and she attributes her success to knowing Darius' personality inside and out as she is very hands-on in his daily care. The pair earned the highest mark of 8.8 for their walk from the judges who were pleased with his clear rhythm and shoulder freedom. 

Angela Jackson of Henderson, Kentucky, and Craig Stanley of Madera, California, tied for second place in the 5-year-old preliminary test with a score of 7.72. Jackson rode Julie Cook's Hanoverian gelding Sandeman (Sir Donnerhall I-Flora, Florencio I). Stanley returned to Lamplight Equestrian Center on his homebred KWPN gelding Habanero CWS (Idocus-Caliente DG, OO Seven) as the pair won the 4-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2016.

During the Developing Prix St. Georges division, Carly Taylor-Smith saved the best for last and rode Nikki Taylor-Smith's 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding Rosalut NHF (Rosenthal-Legacy, Salut) to win with a 70.439 percent. The pair has had success throughout their young horse career as they won the 4-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2014 and the 5-Year-Old Young Horse National Championship in 2015.

Nora Batchelder of Williston, Florida, earned a 69.298 percent and placed second on her 8-year-old Hanoverian mare Fifi MLW (Fidertanz-Wolkenstanza MLW, Wolkentanz I). Endel Ots rounded out the top three aboard Max Ot's 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Lucky Strike (Lord Laurie-Heidi, His Highness) with a score of 68.597 percent.

For results and starting times, visit For more information about Lamplight Equestrian Center, visit Live streaming will be available on the USEF Network. The Developing Grand Prix division will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25.

Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championship Results

4-Year-Old Preliminary Test:

1. Alice Tarjan / Serenade MF / 8.44
2. Alice Tarjan / Fairouz / 8.06
3. Kimberly Dougherty / Celebration / 7.99
4. Carlos Santos / Inferno M / 7.88
5. Michael Bragdell / SenSation HW / 7.64
6. Michael Bragdell / Debonair MF / 7.5

5-Year-Old Preliminary Test:

1. Alyssa Doverspike / Darius 555 / 7.76
2. Angela Jackson / Sandeman / 7.72
2. Craig Stanley / Habanero CWS / 7.72
4. Birthe Laufer / Furstentusch N / 7.66
5. Judy Kelly / Quintess / 7.6
6. David Wightman / Hotshot / 7.48

Prix St. Georges Test:

1. Carly Taylor-Smith / Rosalut NHF / 70.439
2. Nora Batchelder / Fifi MLW / 69.298
3. Endel Ots / Lucky Strike / 68.597
4. Anna Stovall / Frankie / 68.421
5. Nora Batchelder / Faro SQF / 68.246
6. Kelli Mardell / Hemmingway / 67.588


Alice Tarjan - 4-Year-Old Preliminary Test winner
On Serenade:
"I bought her as a foal. As a yearling, she was so tiny and had a hunter way of going, but she got better and better after I returned from Florida this year. By the time Devon rolled around, I was convinced she was a really super horse. Serenade has no weaknesses other than the fact that she cribs. She has a super walk, trot and canter. She never tells you that she doesn't want to play ball. You can trail ride her or put a kid on her and walk around with a cotton lead rope wherever you want. That horse is the whole package." 

On her tests:
"Serenade didn't feel as great when we got here Tuesday. She's not spooky but she gets a little backed-off and behind the leg, which messes with the connection. Yesterday it was still a little bit of an issue, so I was hoping by today she would be settled. I got on her today and the warm-up felt great. She understands her job in the ring. She's young, but the balance is coming along. I was really pleased with her. She's very rideable and trainable. My other horse, Fairouz, is a really solid horse too. The right canter needs a lot of development. We just need a little bit more time to be able to show it." 

Craig Stanley -5-Year-Old Preliminary Test second place tie
On Habanero CWS:
"It's special to be able to come here - this is my sixth time and to be here on a homebred is even more special. I thought he did really well today. He was with me. He was my first foal out of Caliente DG, who competed here for 3 years herself. I'm really happy I could make it with her first baby."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Leatherdale Farms' Stunning Oldenburg Stallion Fairbanks Produces Quality Progeny

Union, Ky. - Aug. 22, 2017 - Since moving to the United States in December 2015, the reception for the Leatherdale Farms' stallions has been incredibly exciting. One of the stallions, Fairbanks, a stunning 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion, has rejuvenated many breeders' interest in producing high quality sport horses in the United States. 

From some of the world's most sought after bloodlines, Fairbanks (Flemmingh-SPS Identify, Inselfurst) was the champion of the 2009 Oldenburg Stallion Licensing in Vechta, Germany. Fairbanks demonstrated elegant movement, explosive jumping capabilities and a charming temperament with a desire to please. 

"Fairbanks has three beautiful and very elegant gaits with a lot of presence," explained Dr. Barbara Schmidt, D.V.M., of Bridlewood Farm. "When you see him move, it's pretty incredible."

Fairbanks passed his 30-Day Test with flying colors and he came in third place with a score of 8.74. He earned a 9.25 in rideability and scored 8.75 for jumping in a pool of 49 stallions, some of which included Bundeschampionate winners, licensing champions and top-priced stallions from around the world. 

Continuing his success, Fairbanks was the only stallion to earn a score over 100 in both jumping and dressage in his 70-Day Test and his 100-Day Test in 2011. He showcased his confidence, talented rhythm and athleticism under saddle. Since then, Fairbanks has succeeded at the most advanced levels. 

"Fairbanks is very exciting. He is a stallion that has very good gaits and a wonderful temperament, which he has had since he was a youngster in Germany," explained Holly Simensen, the North American Director of the Oldenburg Horse Breeders' Society. "During his licensing, he was quite cooperative and showed  himself off very well. I think we are now seeing his personality and grounded mind through his offspring as I have not seen one yet that has been the slightest bit silly. His offspring have been very focused, balanced and know where their bodies are." 

Quality Offspring

Fassbender CF (Fairbanks- SPS De Lovely, Dormello, Rubinstein). Owned by Nancy Holowesko.
In 2011, Fairbanks presented his first outstanding foal crop and his progeny are expressive with long lines, beautiful heads and necks and outstanding movement. At the 2011 Oldenburg licensing, Fairbanks was awarded the 1c-Premium due to his exceptional Stallion Test results, impressive foals and his overall development as a top breeding stallion. 

"I believe Fairbanks added type and overall athletic ability to my SPS Dormello mare, De Lovely," Nancy Holowesko explained about her 2017 Fairbanks colt. "The quality of conformation is excellent, and he has three solid gaits. We were very happy with the colt and bred back to Fairbanks!" 

Fairbanks is registered GOV and ARS and is now located at Bridlewood Hanoverians in Union, Kentucky. Currently, his older offspring are beginning their under saddle careers with exceptional expectations.

"Fairbanks is uncomplicated in temperament, which he passes along to his young offspring who are very rideable and versatile," said Dr. Schmidt. 

On July 4, a colt by Fairbanks was born in Ocala, Florida, at Prosperity Farms. Owned by international Grand Prix dressage rider Jane Cleveland, Film Star (Fairbanks-Rodeo Queen) has long legs, a beautiful neck and gorgeous head. At his inspection, Film Star was awarded Premium Foal and Foal of Distinction by the Oldenburg Horse Breeders' Society. 

"I competed his dam, Rodeo Queen, up through Grand Prix, including the Intermediate I Championships at Gladstone in 2012 and we were also on the inaugural Nations Cup bronze medal team that year, and retired her last year to breed her," Cleveland explained. "She is one of my very favorite horses and I especially wanted a foal from her. I've also long wanted to be a breeder, so this was my chance." 

2017 Colt Film Star (Fairbanks-Rodeo Queen, Rotspon). Owned by Jane Cleveland.

"She was a very forward, powerful horse to ride - not for the faint of heart, so I was looking for a lighter, more modern type for her," she continued. "As it happens, I was at the Oldenburg Stallion Licensing in 2009 when Fairbanks won and I didn't forget him. He was the favorite of the judges and the crowd. 

"My colt, Film Star, is very uphill and is quite agile," Cleveland concluded. "He is reactive, but not afraid, and he looks to have a good mind!"

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Mare's Aging Reproductive System

Kentucky Equine Research has released another informative article about how age affects fertility in mares:

Mare, mare, quite contrary, how do your follicles grow?
Perhaps more importantly, how does the growth of follicles—the small sac on the ovary from which an egg is released—change with each passing year of a mare’s reproductive career? This and other questions related to the aging equine reproductive tract were recently asked by a group of specialists*. Their goal was to better understand how age affects the fertility of broodmares.
“Aside from embryo transfer, highly valuable mares can only produce one foal each year. Having an improved understanding of how ageing impacts the reproductive system will permit owners to continue breeding their mares longer,” explained Catherine Whitehouse, M.S., who works for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
Like other organ systems, such as the gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal systems, age negatively affects certain features and functions of the reproductive system. For example, in the aforementioned study, the research team relayed the following:
  • Reproductive ageing in mares is associated with decreased fertility;
  • Causes of age-related decreases in fertility include delayed uterine clearance, reduced oocyte (egg) quality, and a higher rate of early embryonic death;
  • Ageing mares can begin to have longer intervals between estrous cycles. In some cases, this could be due to abnormal ovulation during the diestrous phase of the estrous cycle; and
  • The number of antral or “resting” follicles, an indicator of follicular reserve, decreases as mares age. Once the supply of resting follicles depletes, ovarian failure ensues.
To read the full article from Kentucky Equine Research, click here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dressage at Devon Hosts Largest Open Breed Show in the World

Devon, PA (August 10, 2017) – Dressage at Devon (, taking place September 26 to October 1, features the largest open breed show in the world and takes place during the first three days of the show (September 26 to 28). The Breed Show features the future stars of the dressage world, from colts and fillies born this year and young horses up to 3 years of age.  Horses age 4 and older are shown in hand and under saddle as well.
 “We are very proud to be able to continue to host the largest open breed show in the world,” said Melanie Sloyer, Chair of the Breed Show. “In addition to our age-based classes, our popular Individual Breed Classes showcases more than 20 breeds with a wide variety some lesser known and rare breeds seldom seen in other venues. Plus this year we are happy to welcome the Dales Pony.”
Breeds in the 2017 line up include:
  • Akhal-Teke
  • American Saddlebred
  • Andalusian
  • Appaloosa
  • Arabian
    • Purebred Arabian
    • Half Arabian
  • Dales Pony
  • Danish Warmblood
  • Drum Horse
  • Friesian
  • Georgian Grande
  • Haflinger
  • Hanovarian
  • Iberian Horse
  • Irish Draught Horse
  • ISR-Oldenburg
  • Knabstrupper
  • Lipizzan
  • Lusitano
  • Oldenburg (GOV)
  • Paint Horse
  • Thoroughbred
For more information, or to enter, visit
About Dressage at Devon
Dressage at Devon ( has been a premier North American Equestrian event since its founding in 1975.  It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family.  The six-day event attracts hundreds of riders from around the world and thousands of spectators.  Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefitting equine education.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Healthy Stallion Management - By Jos Mottershead

One of the best aspects of the Avalon Equine website is that they generously share their expertise in breeding, and they have a lot to share. A recent introduction is the website's blog, which is written in rotation by both of the farm's owners as well as the farm manager. We're highlighting one interesting blog post written by Jos Mottershead, who has years of experience with stallions - collecting and freezing semen at farms around the continent - as well as teaching courses in equine reproduction. 

In this post, Jos discusses three options for keeping stallions that look to patterns in the wild for reference, with the goal being an emotionally healthy horse. As he says in the first paragraph, "they need to be managed as horses, not some Pariah of Society."

It's an interesting article, and recommended reading for anyone who comes into contact with stallions.

Click here to go to the Avalon Equine blog page.

Click here for this specific article

Friday, August 4, 2017

Assisted Repro Tech Not as Dangerous for Horses as Other Species

Kentucky Equine Research has published an article about ART in horses - embryo transfer, etc. - that reports on a study of the risks. The KER article title is "Assisted Reproductive Technologies Safe in Horses," but what the article actually says is not quite so reassuring. It states that fetal and placental abnormalities occur in many species, including humans, cows, and sheep; and that horses "seem relatively immune" from the negative effects.

The article goes on to describe a study with 30 Quarter Horse mares that were divided into three groups by technique used. That means only 10 mares were used for each technique. No abnormalities were observed for the test groups.

I'm curious to know if any breeders reading this blog have used ET and experienced any problems. Please leave comments.

To read the full KER article click here.